11 August 2010

Blast from the past - OTS

I recently picked up an old wool lined field jacket by One True Saxon for twelve quid, this is from a fair while back and prompted me to dig out some old OTS bits and bobs and old catalogues I've had for yonks. Unfortunately it's more One True Texan these days, for me personally, mainstream as it comes and more likely to be seen on badly dressed EDL bigots and young cheesy Quavers than your average clued up chap, but this wasn't always the case.
Over a decade ago when this brand first emerged it was really good stuff, a real breath of fresh air. I can say that looking back, I'll admit, I was one of their best customers and on first name terms on the phone, which is never a healthy thing. I don't even like to think about the amount of cash I spent in those days. I can remember dinner hours in town spunking a load of dough on bits and bobs in time for the next adventurous awayday that forthcoming weekend. Crazy eh?
I'm not intending to be scathing or anything like that, but I just find it odd how something which all those years ago seemed pretty cool and cutting edge to me is something I wouldn't even look at today. Obviously I've got older and moved on somewhat, it's stayed a young man's label really, but from the early Ian Paley days to selling out to the corporation, being available in catalogues and just not being as good quality as it once was. In my humble opinion it just completely lost it's charm several years ago. People now go on about it and 'recollect' certain jackets which were actually only about five or six years old and released when they were long past their best. I'm talking the first 3 or 4 seasons in. I won't bore people with my snobbish approach to this one, as I don't need to do that, and I don't want or need to slate the brand, they're still doing it, so it's not gone that bad for them.
But this was one of those labels I can say I was onto first, right from the off, way ahead of the masses, one that everyone asked about and later started getting themselves, something I would boast about as in this day and age that rarely ever happens, I was buying this in the days their first collections were exclusively stocked in selected independent stores. To give this brand credit in it's those days it really struck a chord with me, everything seemed top quality and ahead of it's time. I remember buying a corduroy M65 jacket, Japanese denim, a waxed harrington with cord belted collar, and a very Barbour style poacher's jacket which pre-dated that brands second coming and the whole country gent thing at the football by quite some time. Fair do's, a lot of it was pretty daring, brightly coloured printed camouflage and full herringbone tweed checked trousers! I had a cool hooded tweed field jacket which I loved at the time, this was also long before tweed became hip again too, and another one you'd take a fair bit of stick for wearing. Saxon also put out chinos, work pants and trousers each and every season many moons before these have become as popular they are again today, which is certainly a very recent thing.
Sadly I'd outgrown a lot of the stuff I'd originally bought, and sold a lot of it on, it had it's place for me as an important brand at the turn of the noughties, despite starting out in the Midlands, which is South to us lot in the middle North, I liked it's 'Northern theme', and the whole knights and dogs vibe. Some of the more subtle stuff I preferred, but this was a brand which also used the 'c' word (no, not cunt) on the odd bit before that become really de-rigueur, as a young match going lad I will admit things like that did appeal. On the flip side, I did like the less-is-more stuff with small non obtrusive branding. Also, their offshoot stuff such as the more work wear inspired Oak Standard, Monocled Pigeon luggage which I still use and is still smart, one or two pretty cool shoes I'd still wear now (Ely and Rufus) and the earlier 4:45 and Armed Response stuff which was a little hit and miss, there were also collabs with General Research from Japan and Indigo Farm. I wouldn't bother with it now, I'll base that on it being more fodder for the masses if I'm going to be a snob about it - easily obtainable and available from your lowest common denominator sports stores and doing things I just don't like, like cringey ad campaigns and look books with shit contrived slogans. To think this was once only sold in a handful of stores north of Watford Gap. I bought that harrington from Geese in town in one of their first collections, there was them and Streetthreads in Aberdeen (now Hanon) who were doing it in the early days. I remember one of the dinner hour shopping sprees going into Geese and the said manager saying they no longer had it as Life had taken it, I was both miffed and slightly chuffed, the brand I'd been championing was about to go massive, but maybe it was time to move on? the said Geese manager went on to manage Oi Polloi, fact fans.
That harrington I mentioned was re-released in both navy and brown around 2005 and when the two were compared the quality of the latter was totally inferior, which I think says a lot about how it went. I loved the original Goodnorth website too, it was a touch difficult to navigate I suppose but it was just like the brand in the early days, innovative and exciting and yeah, quite inspirational for what I went on to do later, too, I'd love a play on that one if it still came up.
Pictured above are some early ONETrueSaxon items and catalogues I've held on to, Northern Belle and Two Dog Brand tees from very early on, Reality Co shooting jacket, Supply jacket, Monocled Pigeon city bag, Working Classman Sweat, and Oak Standard sweat, original swingtags and the original Goodnorth website.


  1. yeah, OTS was great backin the day, they had some great quality jeans and shoes early on but it's all gone wrong. Geese was great shop, much missed, remember them having Edwin way back in the day and Loopwheeler sweats from Japan which were ace !

  2. Totally agree with this article - Loved this brand and what the hell has happened to the quality and sizing on this label. Still gota few bits and their general selvedge jeans were great and by the way if you want to flog your tweed bucket hat give me first dibs - lost mine a few years back and am gutted to this day

  3. Not worn it a great deal in the last few years but I'll be holding on to it, I have had four different ones over the years. One sold for a crazy £100 on eBay one time! I reckon I made it famous ;o)

  4. Still have a couple of Goodnorth/OTS tees and sweats including from back in the Geese days. I agree with John above about Geese and remember them having a top buyer. They were the first to bring in G-Star when it was just really good denim (if you thought OTS has gone to the dogs... no pun intended). Leave them both for the kids now.
    Another great article. Cheers to you.

  5. good article there pal! back when OTS was good! ive still got one of the original first run of the mill multi dog t-shirts!

  6. Looking at this article almost 13 years on, I totally agree with the above post. The fact that the website quoted is the goodnorth.com. This is truly when one true saxon was at its finest. The quality of the clothing that was being put out by Ian Paley and his team was truly unmatchable. To this day I'm still collecting Saxon gear that you would deam original or classic from them. I've still to discover the holy grail which is one of the Rufus the dog statues. My brother has one and I will find one one day! Here's to those who know the quality of a true brand that once exsisted !